By Paul Richfield
More than 200 people celebrated the handover at Orlando Executive Airport on Jan. 25 in an event that featured fireworks, performances by the Cirque du Soleil and Antigravity dance troupes, and music by the Nova Era orchestra.
John LaBonte, CEO of Big Bike Parts, a motorcycle accessories provider based in Rice Lake, Wis., received the first 2008 TBM 850. LaBonte helped ferry his airplane across the Atlantic after completing his training on the new aircraft at Socata’s Tarbes, France, production facility.
EADS Socata Chairman Jean-Michel Leonard said the TBM 850 underscores the company’s commitment to its single-engine turboprop program and to its core U.S. market; he also pledged to increase Socata’s customer service efforts.
Socata claims more than 60 orders for the $3 million, Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66D-powered aircraft, which offers a maximum cruise speed of 320 knots at 26,000 feet.
January 29, 2008